Variety’s 2024 Entertainment Marketing Summit to Examine Industry Trends, Successful Campaigns Like ‘Oppenheimer’

With the pandemic in media executives’ rearview mirrors, media trends are still emerging at the speed of sound, and this year’s Variety Entertainment Marketing Summit, presented by Deloitte, will spotlight the strategies of top industry marketers. The event will take place April 24 in Los Angeles.

Disney Entertainment Television marketing president Shannon Ryan will receive Variety’s inaugural Entertainment Marketing Icon Award in honor of her cutting-edge campaigns during her time at Fox and Disney. Following the award presentation, Ryan will sit down for a conversation with Variety co-editor-in-chief Cynthia Littleton.

More from Variety

Dwight Caines, president of domestic marketing at Universal Pictures, will participate in the event’s “President Keynote Roundtable.” After a year that included the phenomenally successful campaign for Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” Caines points to two particularly effective strategies.

“It was time for us to double down on convention,” says Caines. “We trailered in theaters, saying that you need to see this film on the biggest screen.” Getting the notoriously internet-averse Nolan on digital platforms was their other tactic. “Connecting him with social media, with people who were meaningful to an audience, was I think one of the more exciting and interesting things that we were able to get him to agree to.”

Media analysts report that audiences still seek authentic connections with everything from films to social media, but now increasingly do so simultaneously on multiple platforms — watching a movie while texting, for example, or consuming longform storytelling in smaller bites on social platforms like TikTok.

Roxy Young, Reddit’s chief marketing and consumer experience officer, intends to speak about her platform’s ability to tackle that challenge — enhancing viewers’ connections both to specific content, and to one another — on the “Agents of Change: Innovators of Social Impact Marketing” panel.

“We are seeing consumers turn to Reddit communities for real, unfiltered advice on what to buy from people who are actively discussing their experiences in- depth for no other reason than because they are passionate about the topic,” says Young. “So, as the decline in traditional influencer models continues, we will see a rise in the need for plat- forms like Reddit to deliver quality, vetted recommendations.”

Emily King, Fox Entertainment’s executive vice president, marketing strategy media and digital, will speak at the “Dig- ital Visionaries — All Platform Marketing” panel. She finds humor has become a successful cornerstone of many social media campaigns, and indicates that her company’s future strategies will follow this trend.

“Thanks to TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and social media as a whole, we’re seeing a reemergence of comedy in the cultural zeitgeist,” says King. “It’s an important area for Fox, given the success of ‘Animal Control’ and our animated comedies. And both our live-action [{series] and campaigns will reflect that growth.”

Marian Lee, CMO of Netflix, who will speak at the “President Keynote Roundtable,” suggests that future increases in viewership will likely come from audiences seeking international content.

“A lot of what I watch on Netflix is from outside the U.S.,” says Lee. “This year so far I loved ‘The Gentleman,’ ‘One Day,’ ‘Scoop’ and ‘Baby Reindeer’ from the U.K. I think the trend will be more people discovering stories from all over the world.”

At the “Propelling Brands into the Epicenter of Culture” keynote, Bruce Gersh, 11:11 Media’s president and COO, will exam- ine the ways he established a foothold, and a unique, craveable identity, against the firehose of contemporary culture.

“When Paris [Hilton] and I decided to start the company, the goal was to build a next-generation media company at the center of culture,” says Gersh. “Over the last four years, we’ve built one of the largest female-led media companies in the world without one [outside] investor. If you’ve been following Paris and seen her growth over the last few years, you know her audience reaches over 80 million fans globally. That sets a different tone and a different strategy.”

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.